(Not a) Flannel Friday: Letters & Mailbox

OK, it’s been MONTHS since I had a Flannel Friday post and now that I do it isn’t even a flannelboard. And it’s something that I’ve been working on for a looooong time (like, years) because, busy.

But here you go!

I was trying to think of different activities that could go along with a Valentines storytime that wouldn’t be all kissy-kissy. Mailing valentines came to mind and though there are adorable felt envelopes out there, I knew that would be beyond my reach in terms of time and effort.

But since kids are seeing fewer letters than they used to, and using the mail less often in general, a real envelope struck me as a valuable object to share and talk about. And if you’re using a real envelope…why not a real stamp too? Face it: 1-cent stamps are as cheap as any sticker you are going to find!

Tiny Envelopes

I bought teeny-tiny gift envelopes and asked a volunteer to put a small blank piece of cardstock inside (to make them sturdier), seal them, put the stamps on and “address” each one. We made them in sets large enough for every child to have one. The idea is not for the child to open the envelope (though that will inevitably happen with some) but to be able to look at it and talk about it (there’s a front, and a flap, and a stamp, and an address, and a return address…).

Then I took gift boxes,

Gift Box

and turned them into mailboxes: cut a slot in one side, covered the front in colored paper, and fit them together.

Mail Box

I didn’t want to seal them so I could open them up and get the letters out! Because that’s what you do with these, let the kids mail their own letters. Hand one out to each child and let them look at them and talk about them with their adult. Then you can call them up one by one to drop their letter in the mailbox, or you can walk around with the mailbox to each child and let them mail it from their seat. I don’t have a cute rhyme to say or sing–so if you think of one let us know!

You can use these for Valentines, of course, but also any time you are talking about friends or friendship, gifts, faraway places, community workers, or nursery rhymes (A Tisket A Tasket).

Happy Flannel Friday!

Here’s some other great letters/envelopes/mailbox activities (thanks to @Rachel_nk @lmkrabbenhoft @choosejoytoday @klmpeace who found many of them!)

Busy Crafting Mommy: Flannel Friday: Another Valentines Day Set
Storytime Katie: Flannel Friday: Six Little Valentines
Read It Again! Flannel Friday: Mailing Letters
Storytime Secrets: Flannel Friday: Letters From Favorite Characters
Future Librarian Superhero: Letter of the Day Without Puppets
Libraryland: Don’t Let the Pigeon Writing Center
The Wielded Pen: You’ve Got Mail Storytime

Today’s round up is going to be right here at Mel’s Desk! If you have a blog and you’re new to Flannel Friday, check out the basics and ask for help if you need it; I’ll be checking comments frequently tonight and tomorrow. If you’d like to contribute to Flannel Friday but don’t have a blog, let me know and I can host you here or find another FF member to help out.
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Unrelated PS: I’m running a Reader Survey for Mel’s Desk–read about why and take the survey! Thank you!

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7 Responses to (Not a) Flannel Friday: Letters & Mailbox

  1. Love this idea! I have mail as a them for my fall storytime lineup and this will be a great activity to add. Thanks for sharing, Mel!

  2. Melissa says:

    Thanks, Bridget!

  3. Katie says:

    You could try singing (I think to the tune of “We’re Following the Leader from Peter Pan, which may have another name?)
    “Drop your letter in the mailbox
    The mailbox, the mailbox
    Drop your letter in the mailbox
    And send it to a friend!”
    or
    “And send it off with love!”
    if you’re going for a mushier Valentine vibe.
    Have fun! Sounds like a great activity!

  4. Melissa says:

    EXCELLENT!!!

  5. Mel, may I add the way I use mail to incorporate nursery rhyme into my story times? My branch is next door to the post office, so many of my children know the postmistress, who keeps candy at her desk. :) I explain that she has left a letter for story time and we check our story time mailbox (a Melissa & Doug toy). I pre-print postcards with a visual of the rhyme on the front, and our story time address on the back, complete with a stamp. Then we act out the rhyme in some way. It’s great fun, and I was inspired to incorporate traditional rhymes by you! Here’s a link to my first post using the mail prop: http://nurturereading.blogspot.com/2013/08/first-day-jitters-and-joy-pre-k.html

  6. Melissa says:

    Yay! This is so great. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Elizabeth W. says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I made the mailbox today, and I am going to be using it with the Five Little Valentines flannel I made a while back. I changed the words in the rhyme to say “I sent” instead of “I gave” so I could use the mailbox. I am excited to see how my groups like it next week!

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